In the three months that have passed since the publication of ReLeaf Fall 2015, tumult has once again dominated headlines from the regional cannabis-industry front. Here's a snapshot of the major events from that time, culled from the Independent's weekly Cannabiz column.
• Jered McCusker's One Love Club held its opening night with live reggae performances from Sensamotion and Stranger. Before headliners Fortunate Youth could take the stage, the club was closed for a rash of fire code violations. McCusker hopes to reopen it after bringing the space into compliance, though that has yet to happen.
• City Council passed a six-month moratorium ordinance and will not be approving business licenses for any new cannabis clubs until March 22. They can extend the moratorium at any time. Jason Warf, director of the Southern Colorado Cannabis Council, questioned City Council's stated need for public feedback, calling it an attack on legitimate business.
• City Council also passed a six-month moratorium on approving zoning or land-use permits for new MMJ businesses until May 26. Heavy amendments locked this moratorium to six months, established a way for an existing MMJ business to ask for an exception, and mandated a task force to assess the city's current MMJ zoning and land-use regulations. The task force held its first meeting in early December, with discussion focused mostly on an issue the moratorium does not affect — abuses of the private caregiver system. Despite its dubious relevance, task force chair and Councilor Larry Bagley says the moratorium is still justified, adding, "We're not making the assumption that something needs to be changed, we've just been tasked to look at [the situation]." Industry members can relax a little, as it appears the heavily regulated industry won't bear the brunt of task force scrutiny.
• Studio A64 founder and local cannabis advocate KC Stark left Colorado Springs to spread legalization across the state. Ambur Rose has taken over ownership of the club, along with long-running co-owners Capt. Abner "Voodoo" Marrero and Janine Lee Choung.
• Denver-based Native Roots has opened two Gas & Grass outlets, selling marijuana to medical patients and gasoline to all comers. One is at the corner of Academy and Galley, near The Citadel mall, and the other is on Uintah and 17th, near the King Soopers.
• Snoop Dogg released a line of marijuana and marijuana products under the name Leafs by Snoop. He held a secret release party in Golden to announce the line the night before it hit medical and recreational shelves. Denver-based LivWell currently has exclusive sales rights east of the Continental Divide.
• Acting DEA Chief Chuck Rosenberg talked trash about medical marijuana, calling it a joke. Nearly 150,000 people signed a petition asking President Barack Obama to fire him. U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, responded to the petition, confirming that he and other members of Congress are pushing to remove Rosenberg from the DEA.
• Unsatisfied with the state's relative leniency toward underage possession of marijuana paraphernalia, City Council proposed adding municipal penalties for people under 18 found in possession. Municipal judges could soon levy penalties up to $500 for a first offense. Someone prosecuted under this proposed ordinance could also be prosecuted separately under the state law.
• A few cannabis club owners — Jaymen Johnson of Speak Easy Vape Lounge, Ambur Rose of Studio A64 and Jered McCusker of One Love Club — banded together to form the Association of Cannabis Social Clubs. They hope self-regulation among the clubs can prevent a major regulatory crackdown of the sort the MMJ industry saw when House Bill 1284 passed in 2010. "It doesn't seem to matter how we vary in our conduct," Johnson says. "We're only seen as one group, so we either act as a group, or we fall as a group."
Keep an eye on the Indy's weekly CannaBiz column for all of the ongoing marijuana news in Colorado Springs and around the world.
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